Barclays sets aside £150m for Brexit uncertainty as profits edge lower

Banking giant Barclays has revealed a £150m hit to cover Brexit uncertainty as it said annual profits edged 1% lower to £3.49bn.

The group said it had set aside the Brexit charge in the final three months of 2018 to cover the “anticipated economic uncertainty in the UK”, which is set to impact its UK credit card and corporate loans businesses.

Barclays said its bottom-line profits were dragged lower by £2.2bn of conduct and litigation charges, including a £1.4bn settlement with US authorities over its sale of mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the financial crisis and £400 million for payment protection insurance (PPI) mis-selling.

With these excluded but including the £150m Brexit charge, underlying pre-tax profits lifted 20% to £5.7bn.

Jes Staley, chief executive of Barclays, said: “2018 represented a very significant period for Barclays.

“In the course of the year, having resolved major legacy issues and reduced the drag from low returning businesses, we started to see the earnings potential of the bank, as the strategy we have implemented began to deliver.”

Barclays’ results showed an after-tax profit of £1.4bn, compared with a £1.9bn loss in 2017 when it was weighed down by charges and the £2.5bn in losses on the sale of Barclays Africa Group.

The figures showed income from the group’s corporate and investment bank fell 1% to £9.77bn, which Barclays said was due to a fall in banking fees.

Investment banks suffered a difficult fourth quarter of 2018, with turbulent markets causing many players to see a sharp fall in bond and currency trading revenues.

In the bank’s annual report published alongside the results, it revealed Mr Staley was paid a total of £3.4m for 2018 down from £3.9m in 2017 after seeing £500,000 of previous bonuses clawed back following an investigation into his attempt to uncover a whistleblower.

But he still received an annual bonus of £1.1m for 2018.

The report also showed 430 employees earned over £1m in 2018, including six who took home more than £6m.

Overall, the bank shared out a £1.6bn bonus pool among staff, up from £1.5bn in 2017.

- Press Association

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